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What was the ancient biblical cosmology?

Introduction

Much of the perceived conflict between science and religion centers on how one should view the Bible’s account of creation. The vast majority of scientists and theologians are willing to accept the fact that the Bible was never intended to be read primarily or even secondarily as a scientific text, and even among

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Does a sense of purpose improve one’s health?

Serving food at an aid center.

Introduction

Recently several writers have attacked religious belief as a pernicious delusion [Dawkins2006; Dennett2006; Harris2006; Hitchens2007; Stenger2008]. Victor Stenger, for example, specifically rejects claims that there are any health or social benefits from religious beliefs or participation.

Other writers sharply disagree, noting benefits bestowed by religion throughout

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The future of artificial intelligence: Utopia or dystopia?

MIT cosmologist Max Tegmark is no stranger to controversy. In his 2014 book Our Mathematical Universe, Tegmark proposed that our universe and everything in it are merely mathematical structures operating according to certain rules of logic. He argued that this hypothesis answers Stephen Hawking’s question “What breathes fire into the equations?” — there is no

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Fine tuning and Fermi’s paradox

A “freakishly” fine-tuned universe

Ever since the time of Copernicus, the overriding worldview of scientific discovery has been that there is nothing special about Earth and humanity: the Earth is not the center of the solar system — we are merely one of several planets orbiting the Sun; the Sun is not the center of

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Can there be harmony between science and religion?

Introduction

The progress of modern science over the past few decades is nothing short of astounding. Just in the past 50 years, science has unlocked the code of life and read the complete DNA of many organisms (including humans), traced the history of the known universe back to nearly the big bang, and discovered a

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Does a secular worldview lead to greater rejection of pseudoscience?

Introduction

In Richard Dawkins’ book The God Delusion (pg. 23-24), he asks us to imagine “a world with no religion … no suicide bombers, no 9/11 no 7/7, no Crusades, no witch-hunts, no Gunpowder Plot, no Indian partition, no Israeli/Palestinian wars, no Serb/Croat/Muslim massacres, no persecution of Jews as ‘Christ-killers,’ no Northern Ireland ‘troubles,’ no

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Are Hollywood stars qualified to comment on science?

Hollywood stars as public spokespersons

Nowadays it is not at all unusual for Hollywood stars to lend their public celebrity status to endorse or promote some cause. For example, Angelina Jolie has lent her name and support to international efforts dealing with the refugee crisis. Sean Penn personally assisted efforts to deal with the Haiti

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Carlos Rovelli’s “Reality Is Not What It Seems”

C.P. Snow’s “Two Cultures”

Back in 1959, the influential British scholar C. P. Snow gave a lecture entitled The two cultures and the scientific revolution. In this discourse Snow warned of a widening divide between the scientific world on one hand and the humanities on the other: “This polarization is a sheer loss to us

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Is the universe fine-tuned for intelligent life?

Is the universe fine-tuned for intelligent life? Astrophysicist Geraint Lewis and cosmologist Luke Barnes, both at the University of Sydney, Australia, wade into this perplexing and controversial arena in a new book, published by Cambridge University Press, entitled A Fortunate Universe: Life in a Finely Tuned Cosmos.

The book presents a comprehensive analysis of the

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Exoplanets, 4 billion-year-old life, Fermi’s paradox and zero-one laws

What do exoplanets, four-billion-year-old life, Fermi’s paradox and zero-one laws of probability theory have to do with each other? Quite a bit, actually. Let us review these developments, one by one:

New exoplanet discoveries

Depiction of the seven exoplanets of the TRAPPIST-1 system. Courtesy NASA.

On 22 February 2017, a consortium of NASA and

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